Writing And Photography Are Perfect Bedfellows
My wife, Bev, recently bought me a Nikon D3200 for my birthday present. I am in heaven. If I didn’t love her before, and I did, I would worship the ground she walks on now, and I do!
Amazing what five hundred well-spent dollars will do for a relationship, isn’t it? LOL
Seriously, the camera Bev bought me is the perfect gift, and I mean the PERFECT gift, simply because I am a writer by trade, and I consider a good camera to be the second-most important tool of my trade after, of course, my computer.
Quite simply, I cannot imagine a writer not having a good digital camera. In today’s hurried world, most of us do not have the time to write detailed notes for future reference. The camera has become the 21st Century note-taker for writers, and with online opportunities, a well-taken picture truly is worth a thousand words to any writer.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits a good camera will give to a writer.
The perfect gift for any writer
Creating a Scene for a Story or Novel
I am the first to admit that I am not very creative when it comes to setting scenes, but that does not mean I am handicapped in my writing endeavors….not when I have a camera.
Several times each month I go out and take random pictures of scenes. There is no objective to doing this other than to add to my growing file of scenes from which I can draw inspiration later when writing. I will take pictures of a harbor; I will take pictures of the lobby of a building. I will take pictures of children playing at a playground and I will take pictures of laborers building a home. The specifics of the pictures are then recorded so that when I need to write a scene later I have a visual example to draw upon. Why struggle to mentally create a scene while writing when all I have to do is look at a picture and recreate that scene with words?
Some photo tips
Describing Characters for a Story or Novel
Again, I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, and I certainly don’t believe in straining my brain when it is not necessary.
Yes, I go out and take random pictures of people. They are out in public and I don’t need permission to do so, and my camera is primed and ready to capture my fellow human beings in all of their glory.
A beautiful woman in a floral dress; a homeless guy sleeping under the freeway overpass; a businessman dressed in his thousand dollar Armani; they are all there to capture so that I can draw upon them when I need to describe characters in my next story or novel.
I find people fascinating, and here in my hometown of Olympia, Washington, there are thousands of great subjects to shoot in a very healthy way. I can find great examples of villains and spinsters and stoned, aging hippies. If I can imagine a person for my next book then I can find that person walking the streets of my city, and a picture will help me immensely when it comes time to write about that character.
STOCKPILING RANDOM PICTURES FOR ARTICLES
As a freelance writer I often need a picture that relates to an article I am writing. The more pictures I take of random “stuff,” the better my chances of having a picture to support my article. I even take pictures of interesting signs I see because I never know when I am going to need those pictures.
If I am writing an article about drug abuse, and I want to say “Stop Drugs,” a picture of a stop sign will come in handy. Similarly, I have pictures of recycle bins and billboard advertisements. At the time when I am taking the pictures I have no plan for their use, but it is amazing how many of those pictures have been needed eventually.
DON’T FORGET NATURE
If you had to describe a golden sunset right now, before the sun sets, could you do it? Would it be easier if you had a picture of a golden sunset on your computer right now? If you had to describe the tapestry of shadows on a hillside, could you do it? How about the different colors of a lake’s surface as the sun shines on it? Or the subtleties of clouds as they form on the horizon?
Do you have a mental picture of certain rocks, or plants, shells or animals? What does your yard look like as ground fog settles in?
Of course we have all seen these things, but remembering them in detail when we want to write about them is another thing altogether, isn’t it?
TAKE PICTURES TO ANSWER QUESTIONS OR POSE QUESTIONS
Have you ever driven along in your car and seen something that didn’t make sense? With a camera you can capture whatever it was and your picture will serve as a reference point, possibly for a future article about the unknown.
USE YOUR CAMERA AS A PHOTOCOPY MACHINE
Yes, I have done this. In fact, there is an example in the picture to the right.
Have you ever gone to a museum and wished you could capture the historical text on a display? Instead of standing there writing it out in longhand, take a picture. As you may have surmised by now, this writer is not big on writing longhand.
REMEMBER TO CREATE FILES
For your sanity, please organize your pictures and put them into similar files. You can have a file that is labeled “possible scenes” and one labeled “possible characters.” I have files for interesting facial expressions and files for street signs.
I don’t know about you but for me, time is valuable. I have far too much to do to be scanning through thousands of photos trying to find one in particular. Filing solves that problem, saves me time and thus makes me happy.
MAKE MAGAZINE EDITORS HAPPY AND INCREASE YOUR EARNINGS
Magazine editors will pay for original and high-quality photos that accompany your article, so for goodness sake take pictures when you have scored a writing gig with a magazine. Why share the financial bounty if you don’t have to?
TAKING PICTURES IS THE PERFECT SOLUTION TO WRITER’S BLOCK OR BURNOUT
Yes, we all, from time to time, suffer from burnout or writer’s block. We either can’t conceive of writing again because we are so tired of writing, or we are suffering from brain freeze and can’t think an original thought.
Go take pictures. It will get your creative juices flowing once more if you have a brain cramp, and if you are tired of writing it will just give you a different creative outlet, one that requires no thought and very little effort.
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This video had me laughing
Now There Is Only One Thing Left to Do
Follow these simple steps:
1) Grab your camera
2) Step outside of your home
3) Point and shoot
4) Go back home feeling accomplished.
Now wasn’t that easy?
The first camera I had once I became a freelance writer was a Minolta I picked up on ebay for $20. It gave me two years of wonderful friendship and service, and was one of the best investments I have made as a writer.
Can you just imagine the rewards I am going to receive with my new Nikon? I am breathless with anticipation and almost giddy with excitement.
Try it; you just might like it!
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”